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Should the government require gun manufacturers to produce only smart guns and ammunition?
in Politics

By GeoLibCogScientistGeoLibCogScientist 125 Pts edited July 27
So, a rather interesting idea I had learned about in the past year is the idea of having smart guns, which essentially would only be able to have the safety unlocked or triggered at all by the owners' biometric signs, such as a fingerprint or other options, like a retinal scan they do once to unlock the safety, if for whatever reason they no longer have fingerprints.  Additionally, some ideas such as having cameras on them to help determine if the use of it was a homicide or not.

I suppose so that we aren't confiscating any guns(plus we may not get all of them through that method anyways), it would be best to just require new ammunition be made specifically for these types of guns from the major gun manufacturers and no more ammunition for the old guns.

I have to say I'm not sure how I feel about this idea yet, on one hand it seems like it could reduce gun homicides as well as accidental discharges, but it could also be invasive of privacy and you could argue it's restrictive on gun manufacturers easily. But in a way it's sort of a compromise between restricting who can buy a gun and possibly being more 2nd amendment infringing and just allowing any random dude to have a gun. So, in short, yeah, I'm not sure how I feel about it. Asking you guys what you think and what arguments you have for or against so I can help determine where I stand on it.

In case it's not clear how it may reduce gun homicide rates: a good portion of gun homicides happen from people who don't own the gun, often a family member getting it somehow. Additionally, this would definitely reduce the accidental discharges.
"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
-Albert Camus, Notebook IV



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  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 1162 Pts
    The ammo idea is a non-starter.  Between .22 Short and .50 BMG are literally hundreds of different calibers designed for different tasks.  Current bullet designs and dimensions have been optimized through over a nearly two centuries of R&D (the first cartridge revolver was introduced ~1846).  Forcing all ammo makers to scrap current designs and adopt all new ones would mean people armed with those firearms would be using virtually untested and likely inferior cartridges.  In addition, there would be no real benefit.  Reloading is pervasive, and/or it wouldn't be difficult to design a non-smart gun to use the new ammo.

    As for smart guns themselves, the idea has some merit.  After all, it would be good if an unauthorized person couldn't use your gun against you.  But there are three problems I see right off the bat with making them mandatory.  First is reliability.  People's lives will be depending on these guns, there are times when they just have to go bang.  If they're using a fingerprint reader, will they register a blood-soaked fingerprint?  They may need to be used instantly.  How quickly could a retinal scanner unlock the firing mechanism, and what if the user's eye is bloodied?  Would it work for people with glasses?  How about sunglasses?

    Second is cost.  Technology is never free.  Many people with a low-income already find guns to be difficult to budget, yet they are most often the victims of crime.  Adding to the cost of guns an ammo would further victimize them.

    Third is that you may want, or even need, more than one person to be able to use the firearm.  If a husband is incapacitated, a wife or son may need to use the firearm.
    GeoLibCogScientistYeshuaBought
  • CYDdharta said:

      But there are three problems I see right off the bat with making them mandatory.  First is reliability.  People's lives will be depending on these guns, there are times when they just have to go bang.  If they're using a fingerprint reader, will they register a blood-soaked fingerprint?  They may need to be used instantly.  How quickly could a retinal scanner unlock the firing mechanism, and what if the user's eye is bloodied?  Would it work for people with glasses?  How about sunglasses?


    That is fair, I kind of thought about that too. That's where, perhaps it would need several ways of identifying the owner. Since I mentioned the idea of cameras on it, perhaps it could automatically turn the safety off after it facially recognizes you or otherwise through the body type you have. It would definitely require accounting for if you're bloodied too. We do certainly have AI capable of that due to the invention of Generative-Adversarial Networks that can predict to a near 100% accuracy how a person can look like in certain situations, such as if they're bloodied. This way it could be ready much more quickly. Perhaps you have to be within 5 feet of it and it will work immediately to turn off the safety upon recognizing you.

    Second is cost.  Technology is never free.  Many people with a low-income already find guns to be difficult to budget, yet they are most often the victims of crime.  Adding to the cost of guns an ammo would further victimize them.
    This is true. Often times though, technology like this starts off expensive and plummets in price within a decade of being manufactured. AI, computers, laptops, this stuff started out very expensive, but now are extremely cheap, and even many of the poor in the US own a low-tier laptop, so I imagine it shouldn't be too expensive for such a gun.

    Third is that you may want, or even need, more than one person to be able to use the firearm.  If a husband is incapacitated, a wife or son may need to use the firearm.

    Yes, that's where I'd say it needs to be programmable where it recognizes other people too.

    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1872 Pts
    First, it would be extremely expensive to implement with the current technology, and would effectively outlaw 90% of the firearm market.
    Second, it would lead to a lot of ugly situations, where someone manages to disarm the attacker, only to found that their gun is unusable by them - giving an unfair advantage to the attacker.
    Third, if we continue this argument, then we have to ask if the government should demand that we only produce "smart knives", "smart cars", "smart houses", etc. It would be a huge boondoggle of regulations and limitations.
    Finally, the government getting involved in this matters always ends up badly. In this case, I would expect it to end with the government effectively gaining control over the gun market, which would open a door to eventual ban on all guns except for those used by public organisations - and that is a clear way to dictatorship.

    The government should focus on the law enforcement and leave the private market alone. It is not competent enough to enact policies that will have largely positive effect.
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 1162 Pts
    I'd say this; if the technology can be developed to the point where the military and a majority of police forces adopt it, then it will have proven itself as being reliable enough, and the economy of scale will likely have brought the price down to an acceptable level. 
    GeoLibCogScientist
  • all4acttall4actt 59 Pts
    If such technology was forced on gun owners, it would still only be the legal gun owners that would have these guns.  It would not solve the problem of the illegal guns, owned by people who don't get them legally from still having dumb guns. If you really think about is't it those people you really have to worry about.

    Also, smart guns would not necessarily stop mis-fires.  Those generally happen due to a malfunction of a gun or bad ammunition.  

    I think your thinking of someone accidentally shooting their gun.  That generally happens when someone is being itresponsible about not putting a safety back on a gun or in some cases when someone is being a real (there is no other way to put it) idiiot and doesn't clear thier gun of ammo before cleaning it.  A smart gun would not prevent either.

    As far as them ID'ing a user. I am sure any type of camera they would put on a gun could be covered to block any possible ID.

    Anyway you look at it as you can probably gather that from what I have said and the people before me have stated a so called smart gun just wouldn't solve the problems that you would hope they did.

    The only good solution is education and the responsible handling of guns.
    GeoLibCogScientist
  • What a horrible idea! This causes them to regulate who the gun recognizes as a user and who the gun doesn't. 
  • edited July 28
    @all4actt Yes, the issue of criminals owning guns are not solved, nor did I claim that is an issue that would be solved, but it still lowers the possibility of one major issue which is unauthorized use of someone else's gun. I'm sure you've seen in news of teenagers even firing off guns that their parents or someone else had and trying to kill people(or accidentally doing so). It would prevent that from happening.

    As for your points about misfire, I didn't use this term. I stated "Accidental discharges". Indeed, it is an accidental discharge if someone is being clumsy and didn't intend to fire it(something being unintentional is literally what accidental means and a discharge means to have something release, in this case a bullet) . Again, this solves that issue and prevents that from happening. The smart gun would, ironically, be smarter than the user in that instance. 

    And if some criminal is able to block a camera, that means they already have your gun, or are closer to it than you are, so it doesn't really matter at that point. The criminal would have gotten to it before you even if it wasn't a smart gun, so, not sure how this is a problem unique to what I'm suggesting. Now, it could be if someone decided to put some sort of dark paint over the camera: that's why I suggested the option of several identification methods as well. I doubt a criminal would be able to prevent every single one from being used. They'd have to know where they are on your specific gun, first of all, and second know how many possible ways it can identify someone. At that point, sounds like they are stalking you and they likely know other weaknesses in your means of defending yourself anyways. Again, not a huge problem that's particularly unique to the smart guns, so not really relevant.


    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • @jesusisGod777
    That's the point? I mean, not to be rude, but wouldn't you want to be able to decide who uses your gun? As it is right now, assuming you have a gun, any random Joe can come steal it and use it if they know a good way to steal it.
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • WinstonCWinstonC 114 Pts
    "it could also be invasive of privacy"

    Aside from the inordinate cost, this is the biggest problem with such an idea. Most people are unwilling to be entered into a bio-metric database, let alone gun owners: a group that is typically more skeptical of government power.
  • agsragsr 852 Pts
    Privacy is a major consideration 
    Live Long and Prosper
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 1162 Pts
    WinstonC said:
    "it could also be invasive of privacy"

    Aside from the inordinate cost, this is the biggest problem with such an idea. Most people are unwilling to be entered into a bio-metric database, let alone gun owners: a group that is typically more skeptical of government power.

    As they're currently configured, these guns store the information onboard, they don't communicate the data anywhere.  The Armatix iP1, the only smart gun proposed for production thus far, doesn't even record data, but that would certainly be a concern for the future. 

  • edited July 29
    @WinstonC
    Yes, that's of course why I'm reluctant to support it. It certainly has good intentions and I think some good outcomes, but we'd need to have more faith restored in our government first(which, presumably, would mean changing it fundamentally). As it is right now, I'm not sure if those negatives outweigh the positives.
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • edited July 29
    @CYDdharta

    This is true, but the state certainly has talented hackers, so to make it electronic could be an easy pathway to invasion of privacy.

    On a side-point, that's not exactly @winstonc's quote. (S)he's quoting what I said there.
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • @GeoLibCogScientist

    The reason there is room for concern is because it would require a type of authentication software 

    1. If a government program oversees the use of firearms and implements recognition software they could likewise develope the software to render a firearm unusable by the owner

    1. What type of recognition software would be used

    2. In a situation where a person is in threat of losing their life what happens when the government decides to involve itself in the situation

    When considering control features, limitations within the software should be scrutinized

    What happens if the software malafunctions and the gun is incapable of being used by a owner in a situation?

    Mechanical operation seems to be preferable when weighing the cons of software for guns.

    Mechanical operation and the potential of someone using your gun isn't possible if you take precautions to avoid the situation.

    Second in a role reversal, what happens when someone Rob's a bank and they shoot the person who has a gun that could have otherwise been used, but is rendered useless as a result of the recognition software.

    What happens when it malafunctions in a situation or what happens when someone implements a type of software that gives people access to the guns? Limited software is still dangerous. On a wide scale entire teams could be effected by software.

    Imagine an army op, someone throws an emp, the entire team is no longer capable of using weaponry.

    It may provide the possibility of even the playing field but it seems to be more of a danger than a precaution.
  • WinstonCWinstonC 114 Pts
    @GeoLibCogScientist "we'd need to have more faith restored in our government first(which, presumably, would mean changing it fundamentally)."

    I don't think one should have faith in one's government. In fact, I think it is of utmost importance to not trust such a powerful entity.
  • all4acttall4actt 59 Pts
    Can you show a link to a amitex P1.  I can't find it.  I don't think I can properly explain an argument against or for without first seeing how this gun actually functions.
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 1162 Pts
    all4actt said:
    Can you show a link to a amitex P1.  I can't find it.  I don't think I can properly explain an argument against or for without first seeing how this gun actually functions.
    No problem


    It's an $1800 .22LR handgun and watch combo.  The watch has to be within 10 inches of the gun for the gun to be able to fire.

  • edited July 29
    @WinstonC

    Yes, I agree in general it's best not to trust a powerful entity like government. In general, it needs to be limited strongly. Unfortunately, I do not believe it is possible to have a stateless society, so a state becomes necessary. There are points where I think we can become less distrustful of government. I don't think any modern state currently has a constitution that limits government sufficiently. Primarily due to that, well, politicians and lawyers are experts at finding loopholes, so a constitution that's only 50 pages or less long is not going to suffice, even though it may suffice for the spirit of things. It seems we need thousands of pages in a constitution in order to ensure those sneaky devils don't find loopholes. And of course, we need a means to change the constitution, and change the public's opinion on doing so. It seems, for whatever reason, many people want to strictly hold onto the constitution even though the US constitution itself was specifically designed to be changed, but for whatever reason, you suggest doing that, and everyone loses their mind. 

    I would also say we need to switch to amendments only being able to be voted on by the public at large. Since we want to design a constitution that limits the power of politicians, it doesn't make sense to have politicians be the ones who can change the constitution. I mean, I don't know what the framers of the constitution were thinking when they decided the state legislatures and congress should be involved in changing the document that's meant to limit their power. Seems rather... well, to put it impolitely, stupid. We need something more like 2/3 of voters or 3/4 or whatever, to change the constitution rather than state legislatures.
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 1162 Pts
    @WinstonC

    Primarily due to that, well, politicians and lawyers are experts at finding loopholes, so a constitution that's only 50 pages or less long is not going to suffice, even though it may suffice for the spirit of things. It seems we need thousands of pages in a constitution in order to ensure those sneaky devils don't find loopholes.
    There will always be loopholes, so in reality, it works just the opposite.  The longer and more verbose a document becomes, the more places there are to hide and/or dig out loopholes.
  • @CYDdharta

    Well, what would you suggest as a means to prevent loopholes?
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • all4acttall4actt 59 Pts
    Can you please put a link up or a website that shows the amitex P1 smart gun.  I tried googling it and only came up with a amitex polimer chem.  

    I feel the only way to intellegently give you a view of this technology is to see the gun and read about it first.
  • edited July 30
    @all4actt
    I mean, I could look for it, but why that one specifically? I don't recall mentioning this one.

    Edit:
    Is this the gun you're looking for? You may have accidentally mistyped it.




    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • all4acttall4actt 59 Pts
    The link you sent me doesn't really explain much.

    The initial problems I can foresee with one are the following:

    1.  If you need to use it in an emergency situation taking the time to punch in a pin before being able to use it could be the difference between your life or death.

    2. It automatically locks back up on you.  So if you don't use it right away (it doen't state how long it stays unlocked) the same problem exist as stated in #1.

    3.  I don't see how it would prevent accidental firing once it has been unlocked.

    4. Depending how long it takes to decide to lock it's self it wouldn't work in some competitive shooting sports.

    5.  A lot of people who keep them for self defence don't regularily check on them. So the chance that the battery, that must be required, could be dead when they do need it which would render the gun entirely useless.

    Those are only some the problems I can see with the gun.  I would have to actually test one before I could give a real comprehensive opinion of one.  

    I can tell you as interested asI would be to test one I wouldn't be likely to want to buy one.
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 1162 Pts
    edited July 30
    @CYDdharta

    Well, what would you suggest as a means to prevent loopholes?

    There's really no way to prevent loopholes.  The best way I've seen to address this problem is to de-emphasize legalese in favor of common sense, responsibility and accountability.  Instead of searching a thick rule book that's likely to contain contradictory instructions for any given situation, give people the authority to make judgement calls and institute a mechanism by which they can be held accountable.  Phillip K Howard has written extensively about this ever since the mid 90s when he wrote The Death of Common Sense, a book which has stayed surprisingly relevant.  By and large, the problems he pointed out in 1995 remain today and, if anything, have gotten worse, and his solutions remain largely untried.



    Could no one see my answer to @all4actt above?

    CYDdharta said:
    all4actt said:
    Can you show a link to a amitex P1.  I can't find it.  I don't think I can properly explain an argument against or for without first seeing how this gun actually functions.
    No problem


    It's an $1800 .22LR handgun and watch combo.  The watch has to be within 10 inches of the gun for the gun to be able to fire.


    Just wondering it something hokey is going on with the site software.
  • edited July 30
    CYDdharta said:

    There's really no way to prevent loopholes.  The best way I've seen to address this problem is to de-emphasize legalese in favor of common sense, responsibility and accountability.  Instead of searching a thick rule book that's likely to contain contradictory instructions for any given situation, give people the authority to make judgement calls and institute a mechanism by which they can be held accountable.  Phillip K Howard has written extensively about this ever since the mid 90s when he wrote The Death of Common Sense, a book which has stayed surprisingly relevant.  By and large, the problems he pointed out in 1995 remain today and, if anything, have gotten worse, and his solutions remain largely untried.


    Well, from looking up some of the things he promotes, it looks like I by-and-large agree. Now, obviously I've not read the book you recommended yet, but from some summaries, it seems more like that his suggestions would more apply to laws that the state gives to its people more than laws that restrict the state itself. How exactly does one limit the state with common sense, responsibility, and accountability? These things would solve the issues brought up such as defensive medicine as what you linked to brings up. If people would realize a doctor is there literally trying to save a loved one, it's messed up to the sue the guy if they fail to do so, unless there really is convincing evidence they made an easily-preventable error or had nefarious intent. We are too sue-happy as a nation, I certainly agree with that. But I just don't see how the argument of common sense and such would replace the state at this time or limit it. So, I would favor some practical solution. 

    And sure, we can't prevent loopholes, but that's also why there would be checks against any such politician or lawyer who tries to weasel their way out of the spirit of a law. We need right of recall, we need to make amendments proposed and passed by the people, etc. Should a loophole be found, and each time it does, we could make that an automatic trigger for calling for an amendment specifically banning that loophole as well as a recall election on whoever found it(then it would be up to the people to decide if they weaseled their way out of the spirit of the law).  So, I think I still stand by the idea we need to create a long constitution where we all consider any possible loopholes someone could bring up, and ban that to limit politicians' power as much as possible. And of course, we won't find all the loopholes. But, maybe AI is also the answer to that. We are advancing so quickly in AI we already have some "primitive" self-learning AI with Generative Adversarial Networks(GANs), which I'm pretty certain most predictions had us developing the first self-learning AI centuries from now. Given this, we could even have an AI analyze the proposed constitution and put any protections in it against any loopholes, as it would likely spot them better than a human, should we continue to advance to a level of AI I think we are getting to. We'd of course have people read over the proposed closings of loopholes the AI would put in to make sure they are agreeable. Of course, this is the future, but I think this could be the best solution. 

    Could no one see my answer to @all4actt above?


    I did, but I thought @all4actt didn't consider it a sufficient answer or something since they asked again after you answered, so I tried responding.
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • edited July 30
    This got me thinking now, since I brought up the possibility of AI to aid in the creation of a constitution, am I essentially now proposing a "Smart constitution"? :D
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • WinstonCWinstonC 114 Pts
    @GeoLibCogScientist ; "It seems, for whatever reason, many people want to strictly hold onto the constitution even though the US constitution itself was specifically designed to be changed, but for whatever reason, you suggest doing that, and everyone loses their mind."

    I don't think people lose their minds quite so much if you are trying to give rights, rather than taking them away. If people think that a right is a fundamental part of why their country functions so well, then it makes sense for them to try to defend it.

    "I would also say we need to switch to amendments only being able to be voted on by the public at large."

    Tyranny of the majority is incredibly dangerous. Part of the point of a constitution is to protect against the abuses majority rule brings. It's currently very difficult to make an amendment to the constitution. Hell, it's difficult enough to pass a bill. This is by design, because systems which are too malleable are also unstable.
  • edited July 30
    @WinstonC
    Tyranny of the majority is preferrable to a tyranny of a minority. We have the latter. Either way, it would also be very hard to have 3/4 of the public agree on an amendment. And, as I already said which you have yet to address, if the constitution is supposed to limit the powers of politicians, why in the world would we have the politicians be the ones to create and change it? Do you think the income tax amendment would have had 3/4 approval from the public? What about prohibition? If you ask me, these amendments and others increased the power of politicians, well duh. That's what happens when you have politicians be the ones who create and vote on the amendments. So, given those two amendments passed, and while prohibition was repealed, these are indications the minority(politicians) got to tyrannize the majority. Additionally, if we are a plutocracy as I argue in this debate which remains unchallenged, this also indicates we have a tyranny of the minority. If you argue the only other option is a tyranny of a majority, it's much more preferrable to this current tyranny of a minority that the constitution has led to. 
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • all4acttall4actt 59 Pts
    Cdyharta

    i forgot to include the watch which makes things even worse in an emergency situation.

    In a circumstance like a home invasion what is someone suppose to do?  Tell the aggressor can you wait for a second while I get my watch (becsuse I highly doubt someone would wear it fuultime as it is ugly) and punch my pin number in?
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 1162 Pts
    all4actt said:
    Cdyharta

    i forgot to include the watch which makes things even worse in an emergency situation.

    In a circumstance like a home invasion what is someone suppose to do?  Tell the aggressor can you wait for a second while I get my watch (becsuse I highly doubt someone would wear it fuultime as it is ugly) and punch my pin number in?

    I suppose you're just supposed to wear the watch any time you think you may need to shoot the gun.  Using a .22 for home defense would be ... inadvisable anyway.
  • WinstonCWinstonC 114 Pts
    @GeoLibCogScientist "Tyranny of the majority is preferrable to a tyranny of a minority. We have the latter"

    Actually we don't have, it's incredibly difficult to get a 2/3 supermajority in both houses. The difference between tyranny of the minority and a representative democracy is that there are many limits on the power of representatives. Under mob rule there is no limitation on the power of the mob.

    "as I already said which you have yet to address, if the constitution is supposed to limit the powers of politicians, why in the world would we have the politicians be the ones to create and change it?"

    The powers of politicians are limited by other politicians, the citizens, the constitution and the political process. The House of Representatives are kept in check by The Senate. They are also kept in check by the people; in a democracy the politicians are accountable to the people and rely on them for election. As I said before it's incredibly difficult to even pass a regular bill, let alone a constitutional amendment.

    "Do you think the income tax amendment would have had 3/4 approval from the public?"

    Given that it was initially proposed for a 2% tax on income above the modern equivalent of $116k, and for a 2% tax on corporations it actually probably would have.

    "What about prohibition?"

    I don't know, but I would be surprised if the moral panic over alcohol was confined solely to the politicians.

    "these are indications the minority(politicians) got to tyrannize the majority."

    Wouldn't this mean that all nations are tyrannies (because all nations tax income and outlaw drugs), thus degrading the term? It feels like you are using the words "rule" and "tyranny" interchangeably. When I speak of tyranny of the majority the important factor is that there is no check or balance against majority rule. It is also important that most people are profoundly ignorant in regards to statecraft, but that is ancillary.

    "Additionally, if we are a plutocracy as I argue in this debate which remains unchallenged, this also indicates we have a tyranny of the minority."

    There is certainly truth to the idea that our politicians serve the rich more than they serve the people. This is due to the necessity for campaign finance and the fact that back-door deals are technically legal. I personally would reform campaign finance and make such corrupt practices (e.g. I'll do X for you if you give me a "job" that pays extortionate sums once I'm out of office) illegal with heavy sentences.

    "If you argue the only other option is a tyranny of a majority, it's much more preferrable to this current tyranny of a minority that the constitution has led to."

    Tyranny means unchecked power, which is simply not true of our current system. To quote Lee Hamilton:

    "To me the key to understanding it is balance. The founders went to great lengths to balance institutions against each other—balancing powers among the three branches: Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court; between the House of Representatives and the Senate; between the federal government and the states; among states of different sizes and regions with different interests; between the powers of government and the rights of citizens, as spelled out in the Bill of Rights ... No one part of government dominates the other."
  • What's next, taking all of the older guns from law abiding patriots? Face it, that's too much government. The government is out of control.
  • @CYDdharta Excuse me please. I am sorry for causing trouble in the past. I support your gun rights, and am sorry for treating ypu badly.
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